I Object (Hardcover)
Thames & Hudson, 9780500480410, 224pp.
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Across millennia, dissent has been an essential ingredient in the development of human civilization, acting as a driving force behind social and political change. In I object, satirist Ian Hislop, along with co-writer Tom Hockenhull, gathers together some 180 objects that people have created, adapted, and used to mock and attack the status quo in societies as varied as eleventh-century bc Egypt, sixteenth-century England, and late twentieth-century Afghanistan. The objects--ranging from explicit symbols of dissidence such as badges, posters, prints, and ceramics, to items that contain hidden messages, such as wooden doors from Nigeria, a cotton kanga from Kenya, or a postage stamp from China--illuminate lost or forgotten moments in history, and give voice to those who have no other way to express their views safely.
The book is organized into three sections: the first looks at overt challenges to authority, from defaced coins to visual satire; the second explores how subversive messages, codes, and metaphors can be concealed in, for example, clothing and jewelry; the third investigates the role of the artist as activist.
I object is a celebration of the wit and ingenuity of those who have questioned the establishment, told through the objects they left behind.